Thursday, July 08, 2010

WFH: Zigzagging Into Block 2

With block 1 in the books I finally get to start lifting some weight. Largo says “you'll savor going to the gym because you don't have to crank off 30 reps on every exercise” and I would tend to agree given I’ve been thinking about what 15 reps will feel like over the last week. It’s time to add some weight and actually feel as though I’m getting stronger. It’s also time to get a little more nitpicky about my diet.

After block one I feel good. I’ve lost about a pound and my body fat seems to have dropped a touch, or not much change as expected. The only downside is that an old shoulder injury flaring up, which was expected given that I’m pretty sure something in detached in the joint (which is quite common for athletes). The drop in volume will help this. My back is also getting slowly but steadily better. At this point I’m certain it’s a re-herniation of L5S1 but it ultimately doesn’t matter. I know the drill. If my rehab doesn’t work I’ll require cortisone and/or surgery.

The schedule for block 2 remains the same but many of the movements will change along with the repetitions. Largo emphasized standard lifting movements but, as I said at the beginning, I feel it’s important to focus on exercises that relate at least somewhat to the muscles you need in climbing. Even doing 15 reps, which is technically muscular endurance, will create some hypertrophy and avoiding adding mass that is not responsible to sports specific movement is vital. No strength gains can offset the effects of gravity. I’ll spend the first week experimenting with movements and post them later.

Fingerboard workouts get more focused. For this block I use Mike Anderson’s advanced routine:

Advanced Hangboard Workout:
If you’ve been training for awhile and you believe your body can take the punishment, then this higher volume workout may be better for you. Choose 6 grip positions, then do 3 sets on each grip. The first set I do seven reps each 7 seconds long, with 3 seconds rest. The second set is six reps of seven seconds with 3 seconds rest. The third set is five reps of seven seconds with 3 seconds rest. I take two minutes rest between each set within the grip position, and three minutes rest between each grip.

I also begin to diet. Namely, I’ll begin to zig zag my caloric intake. I’ll begin with 4 days “on” and 3 “off” and transition to 5 and 2. During the on days I’ll limit calories to around 1500. Off days will be closer to 3000. Since the volume of my workouts is down from normal (I do a lot more exercise than most people) I’m not sure where this will settle in. As with all dieting some experimenting is always necessary. One key element is that on my low-cal days I need to get some protein each time I eat. I’ll go into why in a later post but the gist is that when workload is high and calories are low it’s vital that your diet has as much protein as possible and eating small amounts often is the best way to make sure of this.

pic: we didn’t just have a yaniro board back in the day, we still have one. 20 years on and it’s the de facto board at the shed, in santa barbara.


InsaneXer said...

zig zag dieting helped me come back down to 3400 from 4k calories. One question though, Not a lot of emphasis on the legs in WFH? And isn't 15 reps still working the slow twitch muscle fibers that are previously tired from block 1 training?

Steve Edwards said...

Two reasons for not much legs. First, it's climbing specific and climbers want little spindly legs so legs aren't addressed except in a maintenance capcity in the orignial plan. Second is that I can't do much movement on my legs (at least with resistance) so my leg stuff is the little I've included and hiking. I will add more legs as I can (since I'm a cyclist and runner) but it won't be included as part of the "climbing" segments because, again, climbers want as little leg mass as possible.

Anonymous said...

Hi, very keen to try this out as the summer heat is getting to me. How long does a workout session in Block 1 take you? Around 1.5 hrs? How long for Block 2?

Steve Edwards said...

In the first block day one, due to the board session, takes around 2 hours ish but day two is 1.5 hours or a touch less.

Still sorting out block two but it's much shorter and more civilized so far.However board sessions are getting longer and I'll likely add to the exercise load over the course of block two which will probably keep each day in the one to one and a half hour range eventually.